Featured image credit: Liberia Track & Field
Update: an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Matadi might have suffered some type of injury. It was confirmed that he stopped his 200m race to prevent potential injury.
On Friday, Liberia had a chance to rest up and prepare for day four of the African Championships in Mauritius.
Three athletes raced on Saturday morning: Emmanuel Matadi, Akeem Sirleaf, and Wellington Zaza. All three advanced to the afternoon semifinals, but Liberia’s Sirleaf really stood out advancing to tomorrow’s championship finals.
Read the detailed races below.
Matadi’s 200m overview
Matadi secured his spot in the men’s 200m semifinals running 21.01 in round one. He placed second in his heat and was one step closer to the finals. However, after getting halfway through the race Matadi stopped to prevent a potential injury and did not finish.
Matadi was one of Africa’s lead 200m runners, going into the competition and a former African Championships men’s 200m bronze medalist.
Table 1. from Mauritius Athletics Association website.
|2||5||97||ESEME Emmanuel Alobwede||CMR||Senior||20.73||Q (20.726)|
|3||3||116||CISSE Gue Arthur||CIV||Senior||20.73||q (20.729)|
|4||4||227||AMOAH Joseph Paul||GHA||Senior||20.89|
|5||2||220||MAGANGA Gorra Guy||GAB||Senior||21.12|
|8||298||MATADI Emmanuel B||LBR||Senior||DNF|
Sirleaf secures a spot in finals
In the early morning, Sirleaf easily advanced to the men’s 200m semifinals, placing first in his heat. He ran 20.88 in round one. The Liberian sprinter has a 20.37 personal best and was expected to advance to the finals. He did not disappoint.
Sirleaf ran a 20.75-seconds race to secure his spot in the African Championships 200m finals. He ran in the second fastest heat and placed third. Tomorrow, Sirleaf will represent Liberia in the fifth and final day of the African Championships.
Table 2. from Mauritius Athletics Association website.
|7||2||389||HAINUCA Gilbert Maseko||NAM||Senior||21.60|
Lastly, Liberia’s record-holding 110m hurdler, Zaza also ran a successful round-one 200m race. Zaza finished second in his heat clocking 20.97 seconds.
“If you notice, even the best hurdlers in the world, they run the 200,” Liberia head coach Sayon Cooper told Go Team Liberia. “I’m talking to his private coach to implement more 200 meter runs cause he can run a good 200,” Cooper added.
Indeed, Zaza ran a solid race and completed the men’s 200m semifinals in 21.09 seconds. He placed fourth in his heat and did not advance to the finals.
Table 3. from Mauritius Athletics Association website.
|2||1||433||OKEZIE Chidi||NGR||Senior||21.01||Q (21.005)|